Let's not forget that Mirza Teletovic really wanted to play for the Brooklyn Nets. He paid out $2 million of his own money to buy out his Spanish contract. Then, after the Nets offered him the full $5 million MLE over three years, they realized that doing so would put them in hard cap hell, no signings, no use of any exceptions, nothing. So they asked him to take a pay cut, $2 million a year over three years. He agreed.
The Nets thought they had a steal. He led the Euroleague regular season in scoring, then finished second in the FIBA Europe qualifying round this summer. His nickname in his homeland: "King of Bosnia."
Now, he's stuck on the bench. He bulked up too much during the summer, anticipating that was something he needed to do for the more physical NBA game. It was a mistake. It hurt his bread-and-butter: his long-range shot. Now, he and strength and conditioning coach Jeremy Bettle are working on a regime to reverse that. And he's working on the rest of his game, particularly his defense while he waits the call.
"I've been working hard, like everyday," Teletovic tells Rod Boone, "trying to stay in shape and once my name gets called, be ready and to start playing. Sometimes it's tough. Most of the time not playing and then getting in the game . . . you can do whatever you want, but game shape is a different thing. It takes a little bit of time to get into it."
His teammates have confidence in him. Said Deron Williams, "We know what he is capable of doing. We see it in practice, how he can shoot the ball. It's just a matter of gaining his confidence and how he plays on the defensive end."
- Nets Insider: Mirza Teletovic is learning the NBA on the fly - Rod Boone - Newsday